Open Group unveils app management standard

The Open Group last week said that it has approved a new application management standard that will help companies better track internal processes so that business managers can concentrate on goals they care about rather than on technology.

The Application Instrumentation and Control Standard (AIC) uses an object-based model to create an open, two-way API (application programming interface) that can be built into `the main loop of code' companies use to track business processes internally, said Sam Greenblatt, senior vice president of Applied Technology at Computer Associates International (CA). CA, along with JP Morgan & Co, submitted the standard to The Open Group, an industry consortium dealing with enterprise integration issues.

Greenblatt and others speaking at a press conference last week said that the new standard will particularly benefit electronic-commerce companies that have had to write proprietary software to track internal processes. Having a standard that major software vendors can put into their products will save their clients time and effort, providing a customisable tool, officials from CA, JP Morgan and The Open Group said.

The standard will be useful for applications that permit e-commerce sites to track the number of visitors or, in the case of JP Morgan, will allow the ability to assess the dollar value of money transfers waiting to go to the US Federal Reserve.

`Very little has been introduced in the market that allows you to manage the actual business process itself,' said Mike Reilly, chief technology officer of JP Morgan, noting that existing tools give companies the ability to track external processes.

Because there are no tools to track and manage internal processes, `business managers have to deal with problems in a technical sense and not a business sense', Reilly said, adding that managers would rather deal with quality or service issues. `They actually care little about the underpinning technology or the technology problems that are in place,' he added.

JP Morgan has been working for four or five years to `improve the quality, availability and performance of business processes', Reilly said, adding that the com-pany has been limited in what it can do because of a lack of tools that monitor internal processes. JP Morgan and CA worked for about the last six months to develop the standard, he added.

CA is implementing the standard in its Unicenter TNG (the next generation) systems management software and other vendors are also expected to implement the standard in forthcoming products. Although officials at the press conference said that at least two vendors are planning to implement the standard soon, they declined to name the companies. Other vendors, including SAP AG, PeopleSoft and Baan, have indicated to The Open Group that they will also adopt the standard and are likely to incorporate it into software within the next 18 months, according to the consortium.

By Nancy Weil